Alcohol sales in Scotland remain at lowest level for more than 25 years

17 June 2020

Alcohol sales in Scotland remain at their lowest level since 1994, a study has found.

In 2019, 9.9 litres of pure alcohol were sold per adult in Scotland. This is equivalent to 19.1 units of alcohol per adult per week.

The annual Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) report published by NHS Scotland found alcohol sales were at the same level as the previous year, maintaining the lowest level since recording began in 1994.

The decline in alcohol sales coincides with the introduction of minimum unit pricing in Scotland which came into force on 1 May 2018 and requires all licensed premises in Scotland to set a floor price of 50p per unit of alcohol.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, said: “It is encouraging to see that alcohol sales in Scotland remain at their lowest levels in more than 25 years.

“The introduction of minimum unit pricing in Scotland two years ago seems to be beginning to make a real difference to public health and this report adds to the growing evidence base that minimum unit pricing is beginning to result in less harmful drinking habits in Scotland and therefore saving lives.

“With the introduction of minimum unit pricing in Wales earlier this year, England has been further left behind much of the UK in the race to tackle the alcohol harm crisis. More than 24,000 people die in England every year from alcohol-related causes, with those living in the north of the country being disproportionately affected by the devastating impact of alcohol harm. It is time for Westminster to step up and prove it takes our nation’s health seriously by implementing minimum unit pricing as a matter of urgency.”

Read the report in full